Amendment 4 Removes Racist Language

In addition to voting for your desired candidates, it is your right (and duty) to vote for or against any measures included on the ballot. I admit, in the past, I would glance over them and quickly make a choice without much thought or consideration. But now, New Rule! Become more informed and do not take for granted that everything proposed is for the common good.  If you haven't already voted, here are the amendments proposed on the Alabama 2020 general election ballot. Check them out before going to the polls. Here you can find links to sample ballots and explanations for other states. 

sources: https://www.sos.alabama.gov/alabama-votes/voter/ballot-measures/statewide
               https://ballotpedia.org/Alabama_2020_ballot_measures

 

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT 1

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to amend Article VIII of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 177 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, to provide that only a citizen of the United States has the right to vote. (Proposed by Act 2019-330)

A "yes" vote supports amending the Alabama Constitution to state that “only a citizen” of the U.S. who is 18 years old or older can vote in Alabama.

A "no" vote opposes amending the Alabama Constitution, thus keeping the existing language that says “every citizen” of the U.S. who is 18 years old or older can vote in Alabama.

Note: Since, neither Alabama nor any of the state's local jurisdictions allow non-citizens to vote in elections, this may be a solution looking for a problem.

Background:
Sen. Del Marsh (R) introduced the constitutional amendment during the 2019 legislative session. This amendment is promoted by Citizens Vote, Inc. an anti immigration group out of Florida. They support and provide funding to amend state constitutions to specify that only U.S. citizens may vote in elections. Generally, most state constitutions state that "every citizen may vote," but Citizen Voters, Inc. seeks to change the language to state that "only citizens may vote."

Places where non-citizen voting is allowed:

  • Voters in San Francisco approved a measure, Proposition N, in 2016 which allowed non-citizens to register to vote in school board elections.
  • New York City allowed non-citizens to vote in local school board elections from 1968 to 2003 until the city abolished elected school boards.
  • As of 2019, 11 cities in Maryland, including Hyattsville, Mount Rainier, and Takoma Park allowed non-citizens to vote.
  • Chicago has allowed noncitizens to vote and serve on its school councils since 1989.

Those who oppose this amendment believe this measure is an attack on immigrants, as it causes confusion in immigrant communities. Naturalized citizens who legally have the right to vote may not know if they can vote, resulting in lower voter turnout in these communities, and a democracy that does not represent their interests.

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT 2

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to increase the membership of the Judicial Inquiry Commission and further provide for the appointment of the additional members; further provide for the membership of the Court of the Judiciary and further provide for the appointment of the additional members; further provide for the process of disqualifying an active judge; repeal provisions providing for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justices and appellate judges and the removal for cause of the judges of the district and circuit courts, judges of the probate courts, and judges of certain other courts by the Supreme Court; delete the authority of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to appoint an Administrative Director Courts; provide the Supreme Court of Alabama with authority to appoint an Administrative Director of Courts; require the Legislature to establish procedures for the appointment of the Administrative Director of Courts; delete the requirement that a district court hold court in each incorporated municipality with a population of 1,000 or more where there is no municipal court; provide that the procedure for the filling of vacancies in the office of a judge may be changed by local constitutional amendment; delete certain language relating to the position of constable holding more than one state office; delete a provision providing for the temporary maintenance of the prior judicial system; repeal the office of circuit solicitor; and make certain nonsubstantive stylistic changes. (Proposed by Act 2019-187)

A "yes" vote supports revising multiple sections of the state constitution concerning the state judiciary, including removing the authority of the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to hire the administrative director of courts and giving that authority to the Alabama Supreme Court as a whole. It also removes some authority from the Lieutenant Govenor.

A "no" vote opposes this amendment revising sections concerning the state judiciary, thereby preserving existing provisions, including the authority of the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to hire the administrative director of courts.

Republican Senator Arthur Orr of Alabama State Senate District 3 sponsored this amendment in the Senate.

Background Info:

  • Amendment 2 would remove the authority of the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court to hire the Administrative Director of Courts and give that authority to the Alabama Supreme Court as a whole. The Administrative Director of Courts is the executive that oversees the state court system.
  • The bill would also remove the ability of the Legislature to impeach judges, leaving judicial removal in the hands of the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) and the Court of Judiciary, which rules on judicial complaints.
  • The measure would also change punishments for judges. Currently, state judges get suspended when the JIC refers a complaint against the judge to the Court of the Judiciary. Under the measure, the suspension could only take place if two-thirds of the JIC agrees that the judge is physically or mentally incapable of carrying out judicial duties, or poses a threat of harm to the public or the administration of justice.
  • Amendment 2 would make changes to the state's judicial system concerning court systems and procedures. Some changes made by the amendment include increasing the membership of the Judicial Inquiry Commission from nine to 11 members
  • Remove the Lieutenant Governor's authority to make appointments to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, allowing the procedure of filling judicial vacancies to be changed by local constitutional amendment, and requiring state supreme court recommendations in order for the state legislature to change the number of circuit or district court judges or judicial district boundaries.

How did this measure get on the ballot? Is this power grab? It would be interesting to find out why the Chief Justice and the Lieutenant Govenor are having their authority removed in these instances. Why are they making it harder to remove judges?

 

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT 3

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a judge, other than a judge of probate, appointed to fill a vacancy would serve an initial term until the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January following the next general election after the judge has completed two years in office. (Proposed by Act 2019-346)

This amendment changes the initial term of a judge that is appointed to fill a vacancy due to death, resignation, retirement, or removal. The current law and this proposed amendment do not apply to probate judges

 A "yes" vote supports amending the Alabama Constitution to provide that a judge, other than a probate judge, appointed to fill a vacancy would serve an initial term until the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January following the next general election after the judge has completed two years in office (rather than one year).

A "no" vote opposes amending the Alabama Constitution, thus keeping the current requirements that a judge appointed to fill a vacancy would serve an initial term until the first Monday after the second Tuesday in January following the next general election after the judge has completed one year in office, or the remainder of the original term of the judge elected to the office which is vacant, whichever is longer.

Rep. David Faulkner (R-46) introduced the constitutional amendment as House Bill 505 (HB 505) during the 2019 legislative session.

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT 4

Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to authorize the Legislature to recompile the Alabama Constitution and submit it during the 2022 Regular Session, and provide a process for its ratification by the voters of this state. (Proposed by Act 2019-271).

A "yes" vote supports authorizing the state legislature to recompile the Alabama Constitution during the 2022 regular state legislative session and provide for its ratification.

A "no" vote opposes authorizing the state legislature to recompile the Alabama Constitution during the 2022 regular state legislative session and provide for its ratification.

What would Amendment 4 do?

This measure would authorize the state legislature— during the 2022 regular state legislative session— to recompile the Alabama Constitution and provide for its ratification.

According to the text of the proposed amendment, authorized changes to the constitution would include:

  • arranging it in proper articles, parts, and sections;
  • removing all racist language;
  • deleting duplicative and repealed provisions;
  • consolidating provisions regarding economic development;
  • and arranging all local amendments by county of application.

An example of language that would be removed includes Section 256 of Article XIV, Alabama Constitution, which states "Separate schools shall be provided for white and colored children, and no child of either race shall be permitted to attend a school of the other race."

How did this measure get on the ballot?

This amendment was introduced as House Bill 328 by Rep. Merika Coleman (D-57) on April 3, 2019.

If a majority of voters vote “yes” on Amendment 4, the Alabama Legislature, when it meets in 2022, would be allowed to draft a rearranged version of the state constitution.

This draft could only:

  • remove racist language,
  • remove language that is repeated or no longer applies,
  • combine language related to economic development, and
  • combine language that relates to the same county.
  • No other changes could be made.

This amendment was introduced as House Bill 328 by Rep. Merika Coleman (D-57) on April 3, 2019.

 

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT 5

Relating to Franklin County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that a person is not liable for using deadly physical force in self-defense or in the defense of another person on the premises of a church under certain conditions. (Proposed by Act 2019-194)

The "Stand Your Ground" Rights in Franklin County Churches Measure, is on the ballot in Alabama as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 3, 2020.

A "yes" vote supports amending the Alabama Constitution to state that individuals have a right to stand their ground and may use deadly force in self-defense or in defense of another person in churches within Franklin county.

A "no" vote opposes amending the Alabama Constitution to state that individuals have a right to stand their ground and may use deadly force in self-defense or in defense of another person in churches within Franklin county.

This amendment was introduced as House Bill 536 by Rep. Jamie Kiel (R)

Amendment 5 applies only to Franklin county and requires a majority vote of approval from voters statewide as well as a majority of voters in Franklin county to become a part of the constitution. An identical measure, Amendment 6 applies to Lauderdale county. Arguments for and against Stand Your Ground amendments.

STATEWIDE AMENDMENT 6

Relating to Lauderdale County, proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide that aperson is not liable for using deadly physical force in self-defense or in the defense of another person on the premises of a church under certain conditions. (Proposed by Act 2019-193) the "Stand Your Ground" Rights in Lauderdale County Churches Measure, is on the ballot in Alabama as a legislatively referred constitutional amendment on November 3, 2020.

A "yes""yes" vote supports amending the Alabama Constitution to state that individuals have a right to stand their ground and may use deadly force in self-defense or in defense of another person in churches within Lauderdale county.

A"no" vote opposes amending the Alabama Constitution to state that individuals have a right to stand their ground and may use deadly force in self-defense or in defense of another person in churches within Lauderdale county.

 Arguments for and against stand your ground amendments.